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Name: Stewart Beale 

PhD: History

Thesis Title: The Experience of War Widows and Orphans in the Midlands during the Mid-Seventeenth Century 


Thesis Description:

Despite one historian estimating that by 1659 there were over 4000 widows and orphans receiving government pensions as a result of the conflicts of the English Civil War, it is striking how little scholarly attention this field of research has attracted. My research looks to address this issue by focusing on the experience of war widows in the neglected area of the Midlands. 

The overarching aim of this research will be to analyse the strategies used by and on behalf of war widows and orphans in the English Midlands to obtain relief during the 1640s and 1650s. The research will study the language and content of petitions to assess the tactics used by widows to secure pensions. Consideration will be given to differences between elite and plebeian women, whilst the experience of parliamentarian widows during the 1640s and 50s will also be compared to that of royalist widows after the Restoration.  

Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Dr Andrew Hopper, University of Leicester 

Dr David Appleby, University of Nottingham 


Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):

None to date

Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

In 2015 I co-organised a conference entitled 'Mortality, Care and Military Welfare during the British Civil Wars', which was held at the National Civil War Centre, Newark Museum on 7-8 August. I was also part of the exhibition committee that produced the current 'Battle-Scarred' exhibition, which is based on the theme of military welfare. The exhibition opened to the public in March 2016, and elements of it will form part of the museum's permanent galleries from Easter 2017. 


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